Jay J. Sferra begins his 10th year as an assistant baseball coach at Arizona State University. In addition to his duties as the recruiting coordinator, Sferra oversees coaching of the outfielders and also coaches first base. He is the father of ASU freshman outfielder JJ Sferra.
"Jay has been an integral part of Sun Devil baseball and no one works harder," said head coach Pat Murphy. "He has the pulse of high school baseball and continues to be instrumental in our recruiting efforts. As recruiter, his focus is not only on bringing talent into the program, but also kids with great character."
As the recruiting coordinator, Sferra has established himself as one of the nation's best. Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball ranked this year's recruiting class that makes up newcomers for 2005 as one of the top classes in the nation. Year in and year out, ASU's recruiting classes, built by Sferra and the Sun Devil coaching staff, are among the nations elite. The 2002 MLB draft saw eight Sun Devil signees drafted in the first five rounds, including three of the first seven draft picks in the first round. The 2005 class includes four players that were rated amongst the top 100 high school prospects in the nation.
Sferra tutored one of the best defensive outfields in the nation in 2003 that helped lead the Devils' to a 54-14 record. Junior Andre Ethier repeated as an All-Pac-10 performer hitting .377 with 10 home runs and was ASU's highest draft pick after being selected in the second round of the 2003 draft by the Oakland A's. Sferra also helped freshman All-American Travis Buck make the transition from a high school shortstop into one of the best corner outfielders in the Pac-10.
In 2004 Sferra also oversaw the regular outfield trio of Jeff Larish (LF), Colin Curtis (CF) and Travis Buck (RF). The three combined to make only two errors the entire season and together formed one of the best offensive outfields in the nation. Sferra helped Larish make the transition to left field after playing nearly his entire prep and collegiate career in the infield.
Sferra also coached the ASU pitching staff in 2001 and 2002. The 2002 squad ranked second in the Pac-10 behind Stanford with a 4.40 team ERA, marking the second lowest staff ERA during Murphy's nine years at ASU. The pitching staff also led the league in strikeouts (417), second in opponent batting average (.263) and second in games won (37).
Returning to coaching the outfielders, Sferra will once again be working where he helped coach some of ASU's best recent outfielders. He mentored Jeff Duncan and Willie Bloomquist, who have played in the major leagues. Former Devils Mitch Jones, Jay Sitzman and Dustin Delucchi also trained under the watchful eye of Sferra during at least one part of their successful ASU careers.
Sferra has also served as the director of instruction for Murphy's All Nine Baseball Academy and presently is the Executive Director of Coach Murphy's Programs for Youth, "the Guadalupe Project".
The program provides baseball instruction and life-skills lessons to the youth of Guadalupe and is a favorite among the Sun Devil players. "This program is all about personal development for our players and the kids in Guadalupe," said Sferra.
Sferra gained his collegiate experience at the University of Colorado as four-year letterwinner in baseball and three-year letterwinner in basketball. An All-Big-Eight selection and honorable mention All-American in 1976 and '77, he ranks at the top of several all-time Buff categories. He trails former major-leaguer John Stearns by one in lifetime hits and is third on the career list in runs scored. He holds the all-time record in Colorado history with 621 at bats. He holds the NCAA record for most at bats in a single game with 10, in a 22-inning game vs. Nebraska. As a basketball player, Sferra was the starting point guard for CU and lettered three years for the Buffalos. While playing summer ball for the Boulder Collegians in 1977, he played with Arizona State notables Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks.
Sferra was named 1972-73 basketball and baseball Player of the Year in high school at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y. He earned his bachelor's degree in Community Recreation from the University of Colorado in 1977.
He signed professionally with the Philadelphia Phillies organization in 1978 and played in the New York-Penn League.
Born and raised in Syracuse, N.Y., Sferra and his wife, Gerrie, have two children, Carrie (22) and J.J. (19). The 2005 season marks the first in which two Sferra's will be part of the Sun Devil program. J.J. is a freshman and is projected to start in center field.